Growing as a person means growing your self-awareness; it’s a critical element of emotional intelligence or the ability to read others’ feelings and adjust accordingly. In addition to working with a coach to help you gain clarity on who you are and what you want in your life, you can also practice mindfulness, of which meditation is one option.
In this article, Jeffrey Rubin details an important point about meditation: it’s not a magic pill that suddenly wipes away all suffering. You still need to work on your “stuff” whether via a coaching relationship, therapy, support from family and friends, etc. Mindfulness helps you become a bit more aware that emotions come and – ideally – you get less “hooked” into those emotions defining you.
Said differently, instead of being angry (I am angry) you notice that you feel angry (I’m feeling angry) and that slight distance or framing can allow you to be curious about its source. I encourage myself and my clients to wrap the curiosity with compassion so you don’t end up making things worse; we are emotions and it’s part of life and feeling emotions is absolutely a fundamentally basic aspect of life. Compassion is a nod to our humanness, our ups and downs, and the huge spectrum of emotions that come and go. There’s a mantra in Loving Kindness meditation “Just like me” that you repeat over and over to help you lessen judgment and realize that we all want the same things in life. In that way, curiosity and compassion allow you to be more in this moment, to fully feel life, and yet to not get trapped as Rubin identifies.
There is a huge difference between creating the life you want and reacting to situations. Pain and fear must be addressed if you are going to give yourself room to then start looking about who you really are and what you will create in your life. Fear will always be part of us, as will our little inner critic, but it’s the relationship we have with those emotions that is the transformational difference.